Safety in numbers: cut credit card crime

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Having multiple credit cards could reduce your risk of becoming a victim of fraud, according to experts. But will having extra credit cards help improve security, or just weigh down your wallet and attract fees?

The Queensland Police Fraud Squad says that using multiple credit cards for different everyday uses could help to reduce the impact of card skimming and credit card cyber fraud.

"You have one plastic card for your day-to-day shopping, another which you only use on the internet, and you may have a plastic card that you travel with," says Detective Superintendent Brian Hay, head of the squad.

He says the move could save Australians money and time lost in the event of fraud, which has become increasingly common with the advent of e-banking, sophisticated skimming devices, and phone applications.

"You separate, compartmentalise, limit the damage and your exposure, and you have the ability to recover very quickly."

Hay has also called for the development of a credit card which is disabled beyond Australian borders. And while this could prove inconvenient for travellers and online shoppers, it would limit the reach of foreign criminals and fraud rings.

"If we had an Australia-only credit card they can't use it, or they would have to try to sell it to another crook in Australia, which means we could come after them in a far more effective manner," he said.

The cost of extra security

But given that the average annual credit card fee is around $110, according to the RateCity database, holding multiple cards can really add up. That is unless you opt for one of the many low- or no-annual fee options available and repay outstanding balances within the interest-free days.

It's possible to strive for it all by shopping online for the cheapest credit cards offering both safety and convenience. Adapt to our digitised age with all the protection technology and common sense can offer.

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